Remarks at the Bilateral meeting with Barack Obama, President of the United States of America
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
Final meeting with my friend and colleague, Prime Minister Turnbull and his delegation. Australia obviously is one of our strongest friends and allies. It is a friendship based on shared values, on extraordinarily close people-to-people ties, on shared economic interests and a shared world view.
This brief visit gave us an opportunity to exchange thoughts on how we move forward on a whole range of important issues. The Prime Minister had already reached to President-elect Trump and his team and I indicated to him my confidence that the US-Australia Alliance will remain as robust as ever because it transcends party politics.
We had a chance to discuss the counter-ISIL campaign. Australia has been our most stalwart ally when it comes to troop deployments and the effort there. The progress that has been made in Iraq as Iraqi forces seek to retake Mosul, the training of Iraqi troops making sure that we are prepared for any humanitarian aftermath of that campaign. Much of that success can be attributed to the enormous contributions that are made by the Australian Government and we are grateful not only to the Government but most importantly to the men and women in uniform who served.
We also had opportunity to discuss some of the regional issues around the Asia Pacific that have been of great interest to my administration as we rebalanced and focused on the Asia Pacific region more than had been focused on in the past. We are aligned in our views that by upholding open markets, promoting high standard trade agreements like TPP, ensuring rule of law and international norms around issues like maritime disputes serve not only the interests of Australia and the United States but also serve the interests of the region and the world.
As a consequence, it is not often where I have a meeting and I have got nothing to disagree with. Usually there is something we can talk about to keep us busy but there is a strong alignment of interest between the United States and Australia and not only do I wish the Prime Minister luck as he moves forward but I have assured him that we are going to do everything we can to have a strong hand-off and continuity in the new administration so that we can continue to work together to promote prosperity for our people and security for our people. Thank you so much.
Thank you very much Mr President. It is a great moment but a sad moment to have our last meeting in your capacity as President of the United States. I want to thank you for the leadership you’ve shown to your country and the world over eight years.
Our Alliance has got stronger than ever and that has been because it’s based on those shared values. Shared values made manifest by our commitment around the world to work together in freedom’s cause in the middle-east. And I thank you for the compliments you’ve paid our servicemen and women in the Middle-East. We are working together there to retake Mosul, to bring an end to Daesh and its so-called caliphate and to fight terrorism around the world. We are standing up for the rule of law around the world and those understanding that the foundation of the prosperity that the world has enjoyed, the rise of the billions people out of poverty has been made possible by that foundation of a rules based international order underpinned by the commitment of the United States over so many years and especially over the last years during your Presidency.
I want to thank you very much for your cooperation with us on so many issues, on humanitarian issues, on resettlement issues in our own region. I thank you for that.
On trade, we are quite of the same mind of the importance of open markets. The way trade and increasing the opportunities for businesses to grow and develop, whether it is in Warrnambool or Wyoming, it benefits across the world. We’ve agreed as we have with the other leaders here the importance of making the case for open markets repeatedly and more persuasively now than ever.
I’ve been very impressed, Mr President, by the way in which, despite your party’s disappointment with the election result in the United States, the way you’ve set out to reach out to the President-elect and as we all do wish him the best of success. We want America to succeed under the new President just as it succeeded under your leadership. Your statesmanship and generosity sets a great example which all of us admire.
Thank you very much for the great leadership you’ve shown, for the friendship you’ve shown.
Australians and Americans are bound by shared values as you’ve described but above all it is bound together by millions, literally millions of people-to-people links and friendships and Alliances, with a large ‘A’, between nations and many many alliances between businesses and families across the years.
So our relationship will get stronger than ever but it has been immeasurably strengthened under your leadership and we thank you for it.